Around the Major Leagues: 2013 Week 20

All the news from around the major leagues. The NL Player of the Week was San Diego's Will Venable.

AL East

New York Yankees outfielder Alfonso Soriano was named AL Player of the Week for the period ending on August 18. Soriano, who the Yankees acquired in a trade from the Cubs, went 15-of-31 (.484) during the week with five home runs and a record-setting 18 RBI. He also scored nine runs. For the Yankees to make the playoffs, Soriano's hot bat will surely be important heading into September.

David Price and C.C. Sabathia probably know a lot about each other considering how often they oppose one another on the mound. In fact, Saturday marked the ninth time the two aces faced each other over the past five seasons, the most frequent match up of any two starters over that span. Unfortunately for the Yankees and their fans, Price seems to have their number. In those starts, Price is 6-1, including Saturday's come-from-behind 4-2 victory at home. The last time that one major-league pitcher defeated another at least six times within a stretch of five seasons was when Jack Morris defeated Tom Candiotti six times from 1987 to .1991

AL Central

John Danks has been starting games for the White Sox since 2007, but even back then he probably didn't think he would some day be a part of major-league history. That day was Sunday when Danks grabbed the victory over the Rangers. Danks' younger brother, Jordan, hit the go-ahead home run for Chicago, making John the first pitcher to start and win a game in which his brother homered as a teammate since 1947. Talk about brotherly love!

Houston youngster Jason Castro crushed a pair of home runs in the Astros' 8-5 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday night. The two homers were Castro's 16th and 17th of the season. Two of them were hit while he as a designated hitter and the other 15 in games in which he was catching. Interestingly enough, Castro became the first Astros player to hit 15 home runs as a catcher in one season since Joe Ferguson hit 15 as a catcher (of his 16 total home runs) back in 1977. That leaves only one major-league team that hasn't had a 15-homer season from one of its catchers over the last 36 seasons: Tampa Bay, a franchise that didn't start until 1998.

AL West

The Angels beat the Mariners on Sunday to complete the Angels' three-game series sweep at Seattle. Aaron Harang took the loss for Seattle, becoming the first pitcher in Mariners history to lose four games to the Angels in one season. Harang (0-4 vs. the Angels) is one of five pitchers with four losses against one team this year. The others are C.C. Sabathia (1-4 vs. Tampa Bay), Lucas Harrell (0-4 vs. Texas), Gio Gonzalez (0-4 vs. Atlanta) and Edinson Volquez (0-4 vs. Colorado).

NL East

Mets fans around New York cringed in unison on Monday upon getting some bad news: Matt Harvey is injured. Harvey has a partial tear of his UCL ligament, a part of his throwing elbow which typically requires Tommy John surgery in order to fix it. The Mets have not made an announcement on what Harvey plans to do, but Tommy John would most likely keep him out until 2015, something Mets fans cannot be too thrilled about.

Roy Halladay is really good. We already knew that. But sometimes he's really good, especially when he has a lead of two or more runs. Halladay returned from he disabled list on Sunday and threw six innings of two-run ball in a win over the Diamondbacks. The Phillies offense gave him a three-run lead in the game, making him 36-0 in his last 40 starts where the Philly bats gave him a cushion of two or more runs. That means he hasn't lost under those circumstances since 2010.

NL Central

Carlos Beltran hit his 23rd home run of the season and added an RBI single as the Cardinals defeated the Braves this past Saturday. It was Beltran's 19th home run in 73 games batting in the second slot of the St. Louis lineup this season, the most homers from that lineup spot for any major-leaguer this season. Beltran's homer also set a new single-season Cardinals record for long balls from the two-hole in one season; the old mark of 18 home runs was set in 2006 by Chris Duncan, who hit those homers in just 57 games batting in that lineup slot.

NL West

San Diego Padres outfielder Will Venable was named the NL Player of the Week for the period ending on August 18. Venable went on a tear for the Padres during the week, going 13-for-32 (.406) and scoring seven runs. He also crushed two home runs and drove in five. The speedy outfielder is now hitting .272 on the year and has 19 homers, 46 RBI and 15 stolen bases.

The Phillies and Diamondbacks played 18 innings on Saturday, but instead of talking about the position players who were forced to take the mound, we will focus on Arizona starter Trevor Cahill's rubber arm. Cahill became the first major-league pitcher in 33 years to throw at least four innings in a game within two days of a game in which he had thrown at least seven innings. The last pitcher to do that was the Reds' Mario Soto, who threw four innings in relief on July 18, 1980, two days after he went seven innings as a starter. Not only did he throw on short rest, but he did so without surrendering a run. He's the first pitcher to do that under those circumstances since 1974.

John Lopiano can be reached at Follow John on Twitter: @johnlopiano.

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